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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN ON: OPED: Grits Support Can Be The Kiss Of Death
Title:CN ON: OPED: Grits Support Can Be The Kiss Of Death
Published On:2012-01-23
Source:Banner, The (CN ON)
Fetched On:2012-01-26 06:00:34

The Liberal Party of Canada recently voted to support the legalization
of marijuana and a preferential voting system for national elections.

One might think that these bold moves would bring both issues closer
to reality. Unfortunately, the Liberal endorsement of a policy can be
its kiss of death. Take for instance, the carbon tax and proportional

If one actually wants to reduce dependence on carbon fuels, the carbon
tax is the simplest, most efficient means. It doesn't come with the
administrative burden of a cap and trade system, applies to all uses
of carbon and actually has a proven record of success.

Since it is a market-based approach, it should appeal to
conservatives, provided it is revenue neutral and not an additional
tax burden. That's where the Liberals blew it.

When Stephane Dion promoted the carbon tax in 2008, it was seen as a
means to fund other aspects of a Liberal agenda and therefore another
tax grab. It went down in flames along with Dion and now we're not
likely to see a national carbon tax until hell freezes over (due to
climate change).

The Ontario Liberals did the same with proportional representation. It
was a Dalton McGuinty campaign promise to bring it to the people, so
we had a referendum in 2007.

Now, I don't doubt that politically astute Liberal rank and file
wanted proportional representation, since it is a much fairer form of
democracy, but perhaps the back room boys thought it threatened their
grip on power.

Faced with a referendum, they spent millions of dollars on a
promotional campaign that may have been designed to fail. As a
result, few people actually understood proportional representation
when it came to vote. We would be closer to a proportional system if
the Ontario Liberals had just left the issue alone.

So, in our polarized political environment, the Tories are less likely
to support legalizing marijuana than a month ago. Rather than judge it
on its merits, I suspect energy is being spent on an strategy to turn
the issue against the Liberals.

This is a shame, since there was a glimmer of hope that the
Conservatives would have to offset their rather expensive tastes when
it comes to jails and the military with some real cost-savings.

Legalizing marijuana has the potential to increase revenue, reduce
policing costs and put a dent in criminal revenue all at the same
time, but I think that opportunity has been lost.

Preferential voting makes just so much sense that hopefully it will
see the light of day.

It simply ensures that whoever is elected actually received more
support than the next closest contender. Already every political party
uses some form of it to nominate their candidates so one would hope
all could agree on this most fundamental improvement in our electoral

Rob Strang is a former Orangeville Town Councillor and the Green Party
of Ontario's Deputy Leader.
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